Cousins helps Marlins beat Braves 7-6
Morrison wasn’t seriously hurt but left the game. His spot in the lineup was filled by recent minor league call-up Scott Cousins(notes), who had fans standing again moments later, this time to cheer a wild victory.
A single by Cousins—his first hit as a big leaguer—drove in the winning run with none out in the 10th inning Sunday, completing a dramatic swing of emotions as the Marlins beat the Atlanta Braves 7-6.
“Definitely a roller-coaster,” Cousins said. “You go from, ‘Oh no, here’s one of our hottest bats in the lineup going down,’ to `This nobody just hit a walk-off.’ You can’t really describe that. It’s just crazy.”
Cousins was summoned after Emilio Bonifacio(notes) lined a foul that struck Morrison on the left cheek. Morrison’s helmet flew off and he collapsed face-down, but moments later he walked off the field accompanied by a trainer.
He was taken to a hospital, where X-rays were negative.
“He’s a tough kid. He wanted to keep playing,” said teammate Dan Uggla(notes), the first player to reach Morrison. “It’s as hard as I’ve seen anybody get hit in the face with a baseball. … It missed the eye, thank goodness.”
Following the game, Morrison accompanied the Marlins on their flight to Philadelphia. He said he hoped to play Monday against the Phillies, who trail Atlanta by one game in the NL East.
After Morrison was hurt, Bonifacio lined the next pitch for a leadoff triple against Eric O’Flaherty(notes) (3-2). Cousins, who made his major league debut Friday, batted for Morrison and became an improbable star when he lofted a deep fly over the head of left fielder Melky Cabrera(notes).
“I’m rounding second and my teammates are rushing out to greet me—I think that was one of the greatest feelings I’ve had in a long time,” Cousins said, his voice breaking with emotion. “I don’t know if anybody really expected much out of me in that situation, but I did. Fortunately I was able to get the job done.”
The Braves overcame a 6-0 deficit and nearly went ahead. But with Florida up 6-4 in the sixth inning, a leaping Cameron Maybin(notes) reached above the center-field wall to rob Atlanta’s Nate McLouth(notes) of a grand slam.
“Maybin took a home run away, and that’s the ballgame,” Braves manager Bobby Cox said. “If not for that, we win.”
Instead, the Marlins won when they ended a streak of 15 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings by the Atlanta bullpen.
“I could have made two better pitches,” O’Flaherty said. “It’s very frustrating when you blow a game.”
Burke Badenhop(notes) (2-5) pitched a scoreless 10th for the Marlins, who will take a taxed bullpen into Monday’s doubleheader against the Phillies. Manager Edwin Rodriguez used four relievers, and two others—Leo Nunez(notes) and Brian Sanches(notes)— are nursing injuries.
Rodriguez said the team likely would call up a reinforcement from the minors.
The Braves tied the game with a bizarre five-run rally in the sixth that included three consecutive scratch singles, two bases-loaded walks and a two-run sacrifice fly by McLouth when Maybin made his sensational catch.
Braves starter Mike Minor(notes) lasted only four innings, the shortest outing in his five career starts. He allowed nine hits, eight for extra bases, and six runs to hike his ERA to 5.33. The damage would have been worse had he not picked off Maybin and Hanley Ramirez(notes).
“I couldn’t spot my fastball,” Minor said. “And my curveball was terrible.”
Ramirez drove in three runs, hit his 20th homer and extended his hitting streak to 12 games.
NOTES: Braves RHP Derek Lowe(notes), who skipped a scheduled start for the first time in his career Friday because of right elbow pain, played catch Sunday and said he felt better after receiving a cortisone shot. He plans to throw in the bullpen Monday and said he expects to make his scheduled start Wednesday at Pittsburgh. … Rain delayed the game for 23 minutes in the bottom of the fifth inning. … Marlins rookie Mike Stanton(notes), who struck out pinch-hitting, is 1 for 30 against the Braves this season with 16 strikeouts. … Cox gave Troy Glaus(notes) a start at 1B, resting Derrek Lee(notes). … Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman(notes) singled in the ninth for his first major league hit.